The UCI recently announced that the points scored by riders coming back from a suspension will not count towards their team’s total for the first two years following such suspension. I think that’s a good move, as I mentioned on twitter, although some questioned whether it would make any difference and whether it was fair for the rider (you’re either allowed to participate or you’re not).
Here’s my thinking:
- I’m all for protecting riders’ right to work, etc. See my views on that here. So once you come back from a lengthy ban (my views on that here), you should be allowed to earn a living again. It’s very difficult to avoid that anyway given the prevailing labor laws.
- That said, it is completely reasonable that the sport protects itself from damage such a rider could cause. These riders have already screwed up the team ranking with their dirty points once, no reason why the sport should allow them to do it again. Especially now that the team ranking is so important, affecting decisions about licenses and race participation. I know that first-time offenders also mess up the ranking, but that’s a much tougher problem to solve. In the meantime, let’s do what we can instead of waiting for a miracle solution to solve everything at once.
- Not having the points count towards the team ranking makes a rider less valuable to a team manager. So salary would be a bit further depressed (it’s already a bit depressed because the demand for such riders is restricted to certain teams). That’s a better penalty than the concept of paying back 1 year of salary, which has turned out to be virtually unenforceable.
- Aside from the depressed salary, it would also make team managers think twice about rehiring a rider at all. Right now, managers with – let’s say this nicely – an ambivalent attitude towards doping are almost encouraged to hire ex-dopers because they are cheaper and “reliable” in all the wrong ways.